Here's yet another senseless shooting case. What more--on a day to celebrate mothers! Is anyone safe anymore? Learn about how media violence affects children and how to explain violence to your kids.
No one is safe from random acts of violence anymore. You can be running a marathon, going to school or even partaking in a Mother’s Day parade—if your time is up, it is up. Learn how media violence affects children and how to explain violence to your children.
It was a Mother’s Day celebration, a time to treasure what our mothers have done for us and how they have raised us to be the useful citizens that we are. However, one man (it could have been three with ongoing investigations) decided to go on a shooting rampage in broad daylight that injured 19 people, two of them were children.
RELATED: Boston bombings
A young suspect
The suspect of this senseless shooting has been identified by the New Orleans police. According to a Reuters report, Akein Scott, 19, is still at large. Ronal Serpas, New Orleans Police Superintendent said: “The time has come for him to turn himself in. People today chose to be on the side of young, innocent children who were shot, and not on the side of a coward who shot into a crowd”
The boy has had a criminal history as revealed by Serpas; Scott was arrested in March. He has been charged for possession of firearms and narcotics, he had also attempted to resist arrest.
Could it be a gang-related incident? Police are still investigating. Seven women, a girl and a boy who were both 10 years old plus ten grown men were shot. Fortunately, no one was killed.
What went wrong?
The biggest question asked in any of these shooting cases is—what made him do it? Other thoughts come to mind: Was the shooter trying to send a message? Why pick Mother’s Day? Did he hate his own mother?
Then we look at our own children—we hope and pray that they won’t suddenly exhibit violent tendencies or worse…be subject to violence.
Explaining violence to children
Let’s face it, if we are affected by violence—what do you think it will do to our children? There are so many killings, atrocities and pain that happen on a daily basis—how do you explain it to your children? Here are some suggestions.
1. Set aside time to discuss our own feelings and reactions to these events with another adult, be it with friends or your spouse. Sort that out separate from time with kids. React, recover and heal from whatever exposure to violence before breaching the topic with your children.
2. Our children need to see our example of anti-violence. So we should exhibit love and affection in the household. Less shouting, more loving. Less hitting, more understanding and forgiveness. It is OK for your children to see you react to violence by crying for instance. Then explain to them: “Mummy was very saddened and upset by the news.”
3. Never tell your child gory and graphic details of the news—it will not do them any good. If you can, shield them from any violence in media, for as long as you can.
4. Older kids need to understand the concept that some groups are often targeted for discrimination and mistreatment. Explain what makes that wrong and how they should not perpetuate that.
5. Never ever let your children think that some people are evil and deserve death. This is one concept that needs to be discarded if we want to live peacefully and in harmony. Though we need to come up with ways to prevent people from doing harm to others—but still no one deserves to die.
6. When explaining, do it in simple terms so that your kid can comprehend. You can say: “Today, many adults are feeling sad because someone went out and hurt many people. No one could stop this person.”
7. Deal with violence, tragedy and death together as a family. Ask, “What can we do as a family to remember those who had died and to show that we care?” You can give them some ideas like—light a candle, spend a few moments of silence, write a letter, plant a seed or donate some money. But don’t forget to ask them for their ideas. Children need to be heard too!
Now that you see how media violence affects children, you are equipped with suggestion on how to explain it to them. Let us know if you have any other suggestions by sharing with us.